English

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Etymology

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From Anglo-Norman mortifier, Middle French mortifier, from Late Latin mortificō (cause death), from Latin mors (death) + -ficō (-fy).

Pronunciation

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Verb

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mortify (third-person singular simple present mortifies, present participle mortifying, simple past and past participle mortified)

  1. (transitive) To discipline (one's body, appetites etc.) by suppressing desires; to practise abstinence on. [from 15th c.]
    Some people seek sainthood by mortifying the body.
  2. (transitive, usually used passively) To embarrass, to humiliate. To injure one's dignity. [from 17th c.]
    I was so mortified I could have died right there; instead I fainted, but I swore I'd never let that happen to me again.
  3. (obsolete, transitive) To kill. [14th–17th c.]
  4. (obsolete, transitive) To reduce the potency of; to nullify; to deaden, neutralize. [14th–18th c.]
    • 1631, Francis [Bacon], “(please specify |century=I to X)”, in Sylua Syluarum: Or A Naturall Historie. In Ten Centuries. [], 3rd edition, London: [] William Rawley; [p]rinted by J[ohn] H[aviland] for William Lee [], →OCLC:
      Quicksilver is mortified with turpentine.
    • 1627, G[eorge] H[akewill], An Apologie of the Power and Prouidence of God in the Gouernment of the World. [], Oxford, Oxfordshire: [] Iohn Lichfield and William Turner, [], →OCLC:
      He [] mortified them [pearls] in vineger aud drunke them vp
  5. (obsolete, transitive) To kill off (living tissue etc.); to make necrotic. [15th–18th c.]
  6. (obsolete, transitive) To affect with vexation, chagrin, or humiliation; to humble; to depress.
    • 22 September 1651 (date in diary), 1818 (first published), John Evelyn, John Evelyn's Diary
      the news of the fatal battle of Worcester, which exceedingly mortified our expectations
    • 1712 January 4 (Gregorian calendar), [Joseph Addison; Richard Steele et al.], “MONDAY, December 24, 1711”, in The Spectator, number 257; republished in Alexander Chalmers, editor, The Spectator; a New Edition, [], volume III, New York, N.Y.: D[aniel] Appleton & Company, 1853, →OCLC:
      How often is [the ambitious man] mortified with the very praises he receives, if they do not rise so high as he thinks they ought!
      The spelling has been modernized.
  7. (transitive, Scots law, historical) To grant in mortmain.
    • 1876 James Grant, History of the Burgh and Parish Schools of Scotland, Part II, Chapter 14, p.453 (PDF 2.7 MB):
      the schoolmasters of Ayr were paid out of the mills mortified by Queen Mary
  8. (intransitive) To lose vitality.
  9. (intransitive) To gangrene.
  10. (intransitive) To be subdued.

Synonyms

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Antonyms

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  • (antonym(s) of to injure one's dignity): dignify, honor
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Translations

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